Bluefin tuna abundance index surveyed in the Bay of Biscay
2017-07-31 18:32:01   copyfrom:    hits:

Exploration area and example transects of Gulf of Biscay, Project DCF BFT-index 2017 (Photo: AZTI FIS)SPAINSatu

Exploration area and example transects of Gulf of Biscay, Project DCF BFT-index 2017. (Photo: AZTI / FIS)


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Saturday, July 29, 2017, 02:50 (GMT + 9)


AZTI concluded this month the BFT Index survey, which aims to provide a bluefin tuna abundance index in the Bay of Biscay through the use of scientific probes.

The study, financed by the Undersecretariat of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque Government, was carried out on board the vessel Txingudi, a tuna longliner from Hondarribia.

AZTI recalls that after being overexploited for 18 years, the bluefin tuna stock has recovered as a result of the implementation of the bluefin tuna recovery plan in 2008 by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

The research centre explains the stock assessment requires indicators that reliably reflect bluefin tuna abundance in its feeding areas. In this sense, it indicates that the tuna feeding behaviour with a traditional fishing gear like bait of the Basque inshore fleet can provoke a bias in the stock evaluation.

The independent fishing indicators of the the feeding zone in the Bay of Biscay make it possible to avoid this bias by means of the use of scientific probes. These techniques have been successfully used since 2003 for the juvenile anchovy biomass assessment and were started in 2015 for bluefin tuna.

From AZTI, they point out that by extending this survey to reach a five-year series, a viable abundance index will be available for the assessment of bluefin tuna stocks in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

According to AZTI, the BFT rate survey developed between July 4-14 is a new example of the important collaboration between science and the fishing industry, through the participation of the inshore fleet in the resource assessment.

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